We have listed this place Koyasan as our top priority destination
during our recent trip to Japan. It is one of the most sacred
mountains in their country which is really amazing and nice.
This Mount Koya or Koyasan is so interesting that we decided
to visit again in future and stay overnight on this mountain
as a good retreat for our mind, body and soul.
1. We took a Nankai Electric Railway train for 2 hours from Osaka to
Wakayama Prefecture where Mount Koya is.
2. The train ride was very relaxing to weave in & out of many mountains and
tunnels passing endless of quaint houses and hamlets in the valleys.
I repeatedly asked myself if I could ever survive in these peaceful
and quiet towns.
3. After changing another train, we finally arrived the Gokurakubashi
train station to board the cable car up to the peak of Mount Koya.
3. It is so steep and took us 5 minutes to reach the top. The buses
were ready to fetch anyone to the nearby quaint town.
4. Koyasan has over 116 temples and a population of just 3000 people.
This unknown place was once a male-revered area only 100 years ago.
I got this above photo from here
to share the aerial view showing
the town's lotus leaf shape! The photographer was smart to snap the
snow covered roofs during one winter for better view of the shape.
5. The bus passed the small interesting town before ending outside
our final destination at Okunoin Temple which has a cemetery of over
6. We did the usual cleansing ritual to purify ourselves before
walking some 2 kilometers across the cemetery to reach the
Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. This famous monk Kobo Daishi who is
better known as Kukai introduced the important Shingon Buddhism
sect to Japan in year 805. Monk Kukai is one of Japan's most
figures with long recorded history dating
back to 1200 years ago where he had earlier sailed to Fujian in China
before going to Xian and Dunhuang to study Buddhism.
This November, we will be heading to Xian and Dunhuang too.
7. It was very cold and chilly around 0 degrees as we slowly walked
and passed all the tombs, mausoleums and memorials. The whole
cemetery is very huge spanning across few kilometers.
The whole cemetery is open to public with a fee to use their
portable "Audio Guide" for tourists but we didn't use them.
8. I was very calm and felt peaceful to tip toe along this well spaced
cemetery paths and observed the Japanese way of burying and respecting
those who passed away since a thousand years ago.
there are no dead in Okunoin, but only waiting spirits! You should
read the link if you wish to understand why most Japanese folks
believe about this powerful Monk Kukai until many wanted to
be buried outside his mausoleum.
10. I was very surprised to learn that in Japan, many big conglomerates and
big companies would set up memorials inside this cemetery to honour all the
dead who were formerly their employees. The above rocket's memorial tomb
was built in memory of all those who died in their aviation industry.
11. The above is the memorial by the Nissan Motors for all
their departed employees. I wonder whether my greedy bosses have
such good hearts.
12. The above is a family's spacious mausoleum where the
old parents's statues are resting at the sofa on the right.
I could spot the 3 auspicious Feng Shui design pillar towers
in the middle.
13. The whole place was lighted up as it quickly grew dark
during the Winter. Naturally, there were creepy shadows everywhere.
My chicken heart gave me goosebumps and my hair stood upright.
14. When I am scared of ghosts, I must look for my wife!
She knows that, after seeing how I hid behind her when
we entered the Haunted House in Disneyland, Hong Kong.
The masked vampire pounced on me screaming at my neck!
I freaked out madly and repeatedly punched him so bloody hard
until the vampire cried loudly & pulled my shirt to wrestle!
15. Some unique old tomb stones with green moss all over.
Now can you spot the auspicious Feng Shui tower in the middle tower?
16. This mausoleum is over 600 years old and was built
for Matsudaira Hideyasu (1574 - 1607) and his mother.
17. In Winter, most deity statues would be wrapped nicely
with knitted caps and jacket as a seasonal gesture of respect.
18. This is another unique eye opener for me to see the names
of those who served in the marine industry during their lifetime.
They placed the written name tablets into the river which
I would assume connects & flows down to the open sea.
I sent this photo to my good friend Keitaro Kobayashi who
kindly explained this.
19. It was my first time seeing so many tall Cedar Trees
which are as old as 600 years and stands close to 200 feet high!
Their bulletin boards mentioned over 1300 Cedar Trees are
found inside this huge forest.
I love their fresh smells and good feeling to admire the trees which
have survived so many seasons, wars and earthquake disasters!
I am a regular user of this pure Cedar Wood Essential Oils
which is very good for our health and well being.
20. Many heavenly statues line the bridge to one of the temples.
21. At the entrance leading to the Gobyo Mausoleum Of Monk Kukai.
Photography is strictly prohibited beyond this point as
the Japanese believe he is still alive inside in eternal meditation.
Please read the board below.
22. We walked inside and placed candles & joss sticks before offering our prayers.
I also requested the monks to chant 3 day prayer dedication for my late mother
and father-in-law. The closed mausoleum is located behind the big temple building.
23. I believe that this sacred place has many wandering spirits where some
people could hear their whispers too. Can you see this old tree that has a
face on it?? He said "Come Again"...
We will visit again someday & sleep inside the temples
beside this huge Okunoin Cemetery which is the largest
cemetery in the whole of Japan.
My next and last post of the Japan trip
will highlight the famous Ramen shop
in Dotonbori area.